Work and Therapy

My “day job” in film and television (which often bleeds well into the evening, depending upon what part of the process I’m involved with) is to supervise what is known as “post production” (sometimes hyphenated as “post-production”). This is the rather Deconstructivist (as opposed to deconstructionist) process which involves picture editing (which virtually assembles the footage and sound back into a comprehensible story, if all goes well), sound editing (including sound effects, dialogue replacement, foley – that’s the man with the track pants and high heels – and music), and, depending upon the project, visual effects (whether they be corrective or something more snazzy involving CGI and goblins running down an exploding volcano).

It can all be extremely interesting – even if you’ve done it for years, sometimes you just can’t wait to see the end result – or nightmarishly absurd. It really depends on the project, the people involved, and the budget. Working in post, as opposed to working on the set during production, I get to see the various bits that were shot slowly congeal into what eventually gets delivered to the broadcaster or film distributor. I end up seeing the shows I’m working on many, many times before anyone outside gets to see it once. Regardless of whether it is a sensitive, intelligent Canadian documentary or a Hollywood torture-horror film, they all kind of dovetail into one another. I sometimes wish the sensitive, intelligent people in the documentary were in the horror film. Sometimes I wish the people who work on horror movies were profiled in a sensitive, intelligent documentary.

Big or small, there is a lot of money hanging on any given project, so the pressure put on those, like myself, overseeing the process can be profound. Stress is like alcohol; it can be habit-forming as a motivator, but it can also engulf your better reasoning. Thankfully, I don’t think I’ve worked on a project where I haven’t been able to openly poke fun at it with my peers. Laughter is a wonderful antidote, particularly when you don’t have a creative stake in what you’re laughing at; the important thing is making sure that it isn’t the mirthless, bitter laughter of someone whose sanity has been frayed by deadlines and intermittent bullying. If the latter is your case, you need to step away. Soon.


4 Replies to “Work and Therapy”

  1. When Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films came out, producers suddenly started assuming that any ol’ VFX house could effortlessly (and cheaply) replicate what Jackson and co. had (painstakingly) done in LotR. Everyone just assumed it was a question of software, as if there was a plug-in which could auto-magically create a million goblins running down a volcano, and thus I use that term in a tongue-in-cheek way.

  2. You sound like you’re in a very interesting line of work! If only working in an Admissions Office at a Uni was the same… *sigh*

  3. Sometimes interesting: yes. I feel I’m slowly growing out of it though. As to where I go next (or what I’ll do, for that matter) is a fascinating dilemma.

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